Irish Return with 59-48 Win at Pitt
Westbeld with a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double
Credit Source: University of Notre Dame Athletics
PITTSBURGH – Back in action for the first time in 15 days, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team (9-8, 7-6) made the most of it with a 59-48 victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers (5-11, 3-10). The Irish defense secured its best showing of the season, holding Pitt to a season-low point total.
Two of Notre Dame’s freshmen took the spotlight inside the Petersen Events Center. Maddy Westbeld led with a 20-point, 11-rebound, double-double, her second of the season. Meanwhile, Olivia Miles tied her season high of 10 points for a season straight game.
Joining those two in double figures were Dara Mabrey and Destinee Walker. Mabrey contributed 10 points, while Walker secured 11. Walker also tied her season-high in rebounds with six.
“I’m really happy with this win after being off for 15 days. A couple different lineups and rotations, but I thought we played a complete game. Got some key buckets from Maddy. Destinee had a key steal at the end. Great production from our bench. Great production from Kate and Olivia,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Niele Ivey stated.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Notre Dame’s defense really set the tone at the beginning of the game, holding Pitt to just nine points after the opening quarter. Westbeld and Mabrey combined for 11 of the team’s points in the period.
A highlight came at 6:25 in the first, when Katlyn Gilbert checked into the game. Returning from an injury, it marked Gilbert’s first appearance since Dec. 20.
By halftime, the Irish extended their lead from four to 10, up 30-20. Notre Dame ended the half on a high note when Mikki Vaughn recorded a block, which then led to a transition three-pointer from Anaya Peoples. Defensively, Notre Dame held Pitt to just 31.0 percent shooting from the field at that point.
Westbeld kept the Panthers at bay in the third, scoring seven straight points for the Irish from 4:51-2:10. As a result, the Irish pushed ahead 43-31.
A Mabrey three-pointer, followed by a Peoples basket kicked off the fourth and gave Notre Dame its largest lead of the game, up 17, at 48-31 with 8:58 remaining. Pitt attempted a fourth-quarter rally with an 8-0 run over the next two minutes, but the Irish defense buckled down and held the Panthers to without a field goal from 6:36 to 3:39.
On the offensive side, Westbeld scored seven straight for the Irish yet again before Walker and Amirah-Abdur Rahim kept the lead at double-digits with baskets in the final two minutes. With the win, the Irish move back above .500 with two big homes left on the regular-season schedule.
- Notre Dame leads the overall series 30-4, with a 15-2 mark at Pitt.
- Kate Gilbert made her return from a foot injury tonight, marking her first appearance since Clemson on Dec. 20.
- Westbeld earned a career high seventh straight game in double figures with a 20-points, 11-rebound double-double. It marked her second double-double on the season.
- Westbeld recorded the first 20-point double-double since Anaya Peoples (22p/15r) vs DePaul on Dec. 11, 2019.
- Season low in points for Pitt. Their previous low was 53 at Florida State on Dec. 20.
- Best Irish defensive showing (keeping a team in the 40’s) since they allowed just 47 points to Boston College on Feb. 13, 2019.
- Destinee Walker, who scored a combined 52 points in three games against Pitt last season, picked up where she left off against the Panthers, pouring in 11 tonight. She has now scored in double figures in four straight games against Pitt.
- Walker’s free throw streak continued after going 4-for-4 on Monday. She has now made 23 in a row.
- Mabrey poured in 10 points for her ninth game in double figures this season.
- Olivia Miles registered her second straight game in double figures, tying her season high of 10 points.
- Abdur-Rahim also made her first appearance since the Dec. 20 Clemson matchup. The freshman scored in the final two minutes of the game.
The Irish end the regular season with two games at home, starting with Florida State on Thursday, Feb. 25, followed by Louisville on Sunday, Feb. 28. It’ll mark their first home game since Boston College on Jan. 17.